February 28

Regarding the Feb. 25 Metro article “In Va., fight over Medicaid expansion continues”:

The consequences of Virginia Republicans’ refusal to expand access to health care to many of the commonwealth’s poor are well known. These are our neighbors, and we should not ignore them. Without the expansion, struggling hospitals will be forced to cut services, and adults and children will go without decent medical care. Diseases will worsen, and people will suffer needlessly.

Sadly, as a physician who owns a private practice, I see these people daily. Sometimes parents without health insurance wait to bring in children until their colds have become pneumonia. Pregnant women may go without care until they are in labor. Older adults who do not yet qualify for Medicare allow diabetes and hypertension to go unchecked, leading to complications such as kidney failure. I cannot look the poorest of them in the eye and ignore them; I cannot turn my back on them. Nor should our representatives in Richmond.

The Bible mentions the poor hundreds of times. God cares about the poor, and so should we: How you treat the least of mine is how you treat me. To not expand Medicaid is to spit in the faces of the poor and turn our backs on them, and if we do this to the poor, we do this to our God.

Gregory S. Gelburd, Charlottesville